The aim of this post is to produce a repeatable guide to designing an endpoint solution, where the endpoint is the interface to consume information.
Step 1 – Understand the Business
- Survey your user base
- Speak to a range of business units
- Speak to people in different geographical locations
- Meet with peers in industry verticals and share information online
Understanding the business is more than just being in a business or industry segment for a period of time. People and practices change, getting to grips with what is happening around you will help you judge and meet demand.
The knowledge you gain will help you add value to the conversations you have. If you add value people will want to engage with you and are going to trust you when you present them with a solution.
Step 2 – Define the Requirement
It’s important to document the first conversations with the customer or business unit that is seeking a solution. Gathering the initial information in a format you are comfortable with works well but it’s important to send your notes back to everyone in the meeting in a format everyone can access and understand. Keep to bullet points and get agreement that you understood the needs and responsibilities of everyone in the meeting.
Step 3 – Engage Relevant Partners
Knowing when and where to use a value add partner is a critical component in the success of any project. Be prepared to share knowledge but make sure you set the agenda.
Step 4 – Scope What You are Going to Achieve
Scope out the aim, this is the ultimate end goal and break down the project into objectives. Understand and communicate who is responsible for each objective and seek approval from the project owner that you are moving in the right direction.
Step 5 – Demo and Mock up a Solution
A visual representation is always a great way to present your solution back to the business. If you have the ability to customize a standard demo environment this will help with quick changes and allow for a repeatable approach.
Step 6 – Request Feedback
If you are struggling to engage the business further the demo is a good point to ask for feedback. Bringing partners back in at this stage for comment is always worth while but as with any partner engagement it is important to control the agenda.
Step 7 – Deliver Solution Overview
After analyzing the feedback put together the final solution proposal and overview. At this stage you should be able to provide a cost model or enough information to the project management team to organizing costing.
Step 8 – Seek Acceptance
When the solution overview has been delivered seek acceptance from the business and look to confirm the next steps on the engagement.
You should now be at a point where each party engaged understands what the final outcome will look like, what it is going to deliver and who is going to manage and cost the delivery.
Step 9 – Stay Engaged
Throughout the project stay engaged during the process. It’s important to be there at any kick off meetings to make sure those picking up tasks have access to you during the project.